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In the Douglas Kirkland on Photography series, well-known photographer Douglas Kirkland explores a variety of real-world photographic scenarios, sharing technique insights and critiquing the results.
In this installment of the series, Douglas demonstrates how shooting in a studio allows for precise lighting control and consistency. The course begins with a look at the strobes and light modifiers that Douglas frequently employs for studio portraiture. Douglas positions the lights and then shoots a variety of portraits, demonstrating how he works with a model to capture different moods and positions.
Finally, he reviews the best images from the shoot, analyzing the lighting techniques he employed and showing how judicious use of Photoshop can enhance a portrait without making it look unnaturally processed.
The final technique I'd like to point out today and show you is how we get an effect that's very special like this, with a spotlight on the background. You get a different look. And all these looks, all these vastly different looks have been done in minutes, just with lighting changes predominantly, and you get all these possibilities and Courtney doesn't really almost know that any change has been made. What we're doing is we're putting a spotlight on the background. We turn out all the other lights except for the key and the fill light.
No other light on the background. Just that one spotlight which we put a grid on the front of our reflector, of our strobe, and point that up there and there are different sizes of them. Here you see it's so simple. And this where you get your gray from, because it's already gray. All we're doing is getting that spot and again your key and your fill are still working. So now we have three lights. Key, fill, and spotlight on the background. That's it, that's what's doing this, and watch what you get. See the effect? You have this nice vignette feeling.
It's very enhancing. What happens is it brings your eye into the center and you can use different sizes of what we call grids or spots. You can change them, make them bigger or smaller and get still a different look. The composition changes, the sense of the image changes. That's the power of using these wonderful tools like a spotlight. Now this is my favorite image. This is the last one that I really care about and what I really want to show you is what happens when I go back to the studio and I put the image into my computer.
That's the final touches that really count.
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